[nvda] Introducing IAccesible2

  • From: "Michael Curran" <mick@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <nvda@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 13:06:31 +1100

Hi all,

In the last few days, a new accessibility API has just been announced called IAccessible2.

IAccessible2 has been designed by people from IBM, Mozilla, and other places, and it is now held by the Free Standards Group, which means it is an open standard, and will be able to be used across multiple platforms such as Windows and other Unix graphical user interfaces.

IAccessible2 was based on MSAA, but dramatically extended with features that are found in other accessibility APIs like at-spi (Gnome accessibility framework) and the Java Access Bridge.

Currently, IBM is designing a few of its applications with IAccessible2 as the accessibility API, plus Mozilla is currentl working on implementing IAccessible2 in its Gecko rendering Engine, which means that applications such as Firefox and Thunderbird should be using it by hopefully the 3rd Quarter of next year (I think).

IAccessible2 adds to MSAA many new features like accessible relations (like accNavigate, but many new relationships between different objects), more roles, and most importantly support for finding the system caret, and finding out selections and navigating with in documents and other text fields with out having to depend upon the video buffer or or using specific application APIs.

There is already an IDL available for IAccessible2, and I have successfully compiled it in to a typelib for use with Python and NVDA.

This does mean though that support for navigating editable documents in Thunderbird and edit fields in Firefox will only become accessible in NVDA when IAccessible2 is finished in Mozilla, since it seems their older ITextDom and ISimpleDomNode interfaces probabaly won't be fixed now for compilation in to a typelib.

For any info on IAccessible2 just search for it in Google, there have been quite a few press releases about it.


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